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Chapter 9 - Eggman's Virtual Kingdom

Knuckles battles mysterious new foes bent on stealing the Master Emerald!

Meanwhile, Punchy and Rainbow have discovered Rainbow's sister... But is she an enemy?

Chapter 9 - Eggman's Virtual Kingdom

Chapter 9 - Eggman's Virtual Kingdom
GeneX - Knuckles the Echidna
Chapter 9 - Eggman's Virtual Kingdom
Stage 7(Hero 4) - Super Eggman Land
Minor Boss 3 - Firepaw

Note: Sonic the Hedgehog and related characters are (c) SEGA and
Sonic Team. You knew that, right?
GeneX and related fanchars are (c) 2BIT (TheGreatGator), the author.
Super Mario Bros. elements are (c) Nintendo (just to be safe)

The story thus far:
As the other heroes are beginning their adventures, Sonic the Hedgehog had only just found out that villains such as Eggman and the Covenant of Despair were on the move. Having fought with Anubis the jackal and failed to stop Char and Alpha from getting a Chaos Emerald, Sonic realizes that he may need help to contain this latest threat.
Now, on to the next chapter!

Sonic and Amy decided to head for Tails's Workshop in Central City, since they were in the neighborhood. Of course, Tails wasn't there, but they still didn't find the workshop empty. Charmy Bee was sitting at Tails's TV, playing some old-school video games as Sonic walked in. "Hey, you're not Tails!" Sonic remarked, which was followed by some annoying 8-bit death music. "Aw, man! You made me lose!" Charmy complained, turning around, "Huh? Oh, Vector! Sonic's here!" he called. Vector the crocodile was standing at the back of the room beside Espio the chameleon, who was seated at a PC. "Don't bother me now, Charmy! We gotta hack into this computer!" Vector said. Sonic walked past Charmy and cleared his throat loudly behind Vector. "And WHY are we breaking into Tails's computer?" he asked. Vector turned around hastily. "Oh, right, Sonic! My old pal! You wouldn't happen to have SEEN Tails lately, would ya?" he stammered. "I doubt it." said Espio without looking back, "If he knew where Tails was, he wouldn't be here." he figured. Sonic crossed his arms. "Just what are you guys up to?" he asked. Charmy hopped up excitedly. "Bad guys set Tails's house on fire!" he announced. Vector smacked his forehead in frustration. "CHARMY!! What did I tell you about blabbin' stuff? I'LL do the talkin'!" he shouted. Charmy sighed and returned to his game, leaving a shocked Sonic to respond to this new information. "Tails was... attacked!?" he gasped. "Take it easy, Sonic.
I'll tell you what my keen detective skills have figured out!" Vector grinned. Espio turned around and Amy walked over next to Sonic. "This ought to be good..." Espio said sarcastically. Vector cleared his throat. "Okay. Tails was havin' a peaceful morning, working on his heroic plans to stop the Covenant of Despair... When they showed up and BLEW UP HIS WORKSHOP!!" he yelled, inducing a frustrated groan from Charmy. Espio rolled his eyes. "You don't know what Tails was doing this morning." he pointed out. "Why ELSE would they go after him?" Vector retorted. Espio shrugged. "Well, I'd say the most plausible reason was that they were REALLY after Knuckles, and he hid at Tails's place." he said. Vector shook his head. "Now, just because Angel Island fell again doesn't mean Knuckles is involved in this!" he grumbled. Charmy glanced over at them. "Maybe it wasn't even the... uh.... Despair guys! Remember the robot I found in the workshop?" he said. Vector gasped. "Right! So, Dr. Eggman's working with Despair!" he said hastily. Sonic scratched his head. "You guys don't got a clue, do ya?" he sighed. Espio nodded. "That's why we're looking for any trace of Tails." he said. Vector looked thoughtful. "Now that I think about it, I bet Eggman IS involved." he murmured. Amy smiled. "Hey! I know where Eggman is!" she realized. Vector grabbed her by the shoulders excitedly. "SPILL IT!!" he yelled, causing game over music to play from Charmy's game. "VECTORRRR!!" Charmy whined. "I'll tell you if Sonic agrees to take me on a date!" Amy said craftily. Sonic frowned. "She's making stuff up. If she knew anything, she'd have brought it up earlier." he said. Amy growled at him in frustration. "Oh, yeah!? That's where you're wrong! I just so happen to know that Eggman's ship was spotted near Troblusk City! It was on the news and everything!" she snapped. Sonic nodded. "Troblusk City, eh? I'm there!" he said, speeding out of the workshop before Amy or Team Chaotix could even say anything about going with! "Sonic!! Waaaaait!!" Amy groaned. Charmy glanced over at her and shrugged. "You could play two player with me!" he offered. Amy sighed. "Yeah... Thanks for the offer, kid..." she grumbled.

Meanwhile, at Troblusk City, Dr. Eggman had returned to his small base after his setbacks in the jungle. He was soon interrupted with unexpected visitors. Razor the Porcupine barged into the base, accompanied by the chief of police, an old human with a droopy gray mustache. "Well, what have we here?" Eggman said, sitting in his Egg Mobile as they entered, "The Troblusk City police! To what do I owe the pleasure?" he asked. The old man glared at him. "I am police Chief Paynson. I've come here to take you in for questioning!" he stated. Eggman chuckled softly. "Questioning?" he asked, like it was a joke. "We want to find out what you know about the Covenant of Despair." Razor said bluntly. "Oh? What makes you think that I know anything about them?" Eggman replied. Chief Paynson wore a look of impatience. "Oh, please. Don't insult our intelligence! They're a dangerous organization that could threaten your plans for world conquest! Why, the only reason you wouldn't be concerned about them would be..." he gasped, coming to a realization. "If you were in cahoots with them!" Razor finished. Eggman grinned widely. "Very well. I won't insult your intelligence. Won't you come in?" he said, motioning for them to come closer. Razor and Paynson took a step backward instead. "No, you're coming with us!" Razor insisted, reaching for his gun. "Ha ha ha ha ha! Oh, no, I insist! Stay a while..." Eggman smirked, "BAS, the accommodations here are terrible. Let's send them somewhere more pleasant!" he said. "Yes, sir!" the Base Alarm System replied! "Hold it!" shouted Razor, only to find an electrified cage rising up from the floor around them! In fact, they had backed away right into it! Electricity crackled and surged from the cage to several odd electrodes on the roof, and soon Razor and Paynson were both zapped, screaming out "Eggmaaaaaaaaaaaaan!!!!" as they vanished! Dr. Eggman was giddy at this turn of events. "Hooooo ho ho ho ho! With the chief of police as my hostage, Eggtopia can begin to expand into the rest of the city!" he laughed. "Doctor! A Chaos Emerald has been located!" BAS announced. "Perfect! I'm off to check it out! Have a robot wake up Spiny, would you?" he ordered.

In the time it took Sonic to ride the train, he arrived at Troblusk City. Eggman's Eggtopia base with the flashing sign wasn't hard to find, and as he walked inside, he found Eggman standing with his back to the door. "Eggman! You sure were easy to find this time!" Sonic remarked. The doctor didn't turn around, he just chuckled. "Heh heh heh heh... Sonic..." he said, his voice sounding a little off. "Uh, are you feeling all right? You look a little... Sick..." Sonic observed, noting his skin had an almost... robotic hue. The doctor turned around, revealing himself to be Metal Eggman, and yelled "SURPRISE!!" Sonic jumped in terror. "Whoa!! That robot's hideous!" he shouted. "What? How rude!" Metal Eggman frowned. Just then, Spiny the Porcupine emerged from behind Metal Eggman. "Well, if it isn't Sonic. My most hated enemy!" he sneered. "Huh? Hey, you look a little familiar..." Sonic remarked, looking at Spiny as though looking in a mirror. Spiny stomped his foot furiously. "OF COURSE I DO!! And I can't STAND that! Metal Eggman, let me dispose of this girl scout!" he yelled. "Now, now. He took the time to visit us. We might as well hear what he has to say." Metal Eggman suggested. "Really?" Sonic said curiously. Metal Eggman nodded. "Yes, won't you come in?" he grinned. Sonic stepped under the electrodes on the roof without noticing them. "Huh. How polite of you... Uh, have any of you seen Tails... Or the Covenant of Despair?" he asked. Spiny smiled. "Why, he said the magic words!" he grinned. "Clearly, you know a lot! So, you win a trip!" Metal Eggman chuckled, "BAS, send our winner to Super Eggman Land!" he ordered. "Hee hee hee hee! Game on!" BAS laughed. Sonic looked around in panic as the electrified cage emerged around him. "Huh?? Oh, no ya don't!" he shouted, trying to jump over the cage only to be rebounded by the electricity! "Arrrgh!! What's happeniiiiiiiiiiiing!!!!??" he shouted. "Good bye, Sonic! Don't come back!" said Spiny as Sonic was zapped away as Razor and Paynson had been!

Sonic found himself falling. Then, he hit the ground. "Oooof!!" he grunted. "Ugh... Where am I?" he muttered, looking around. He found himself in a strange place, filled with floating chunks of earth that had a strange blocky shape to them. They were flying amidst a clear blue sky, and the only clouds in the sky had smiley faces in them. Among these odd, floating platforms, Sonic could see obstacle courses of gold coins, strange floating blocks, giant iron pipes, and other miscellaneous oddities. "I'm not in Troblusk anymore, am I?" he muttered. "Let the game begin!
Good luuuuuuck!" shouted BAS from seemingly nowhere. "Game...?" Sonic murmured. "This is the virtual reality world of Super Eggman Land!" BAS explained. "Virtual...? Wait... don't tell me...." Sonic said, a look of abject horror coming across his face, "I'M TRAPPED IN A VIDEO GAME!?" he screamed. He then promptly got over it. "Oh, well. If Eggman wants to play with me, I guess I'll have to give it a try." he shrugged. Looking forward, he though he saw Shadow. "If he's a video game mirage, I hope I don't have to fight him." Sonic remarked, heading over to him. Shadow was shouting at a red cat, with glowing yellow eyes, sharp claws and saber-teeth. It also had a long tail lined with spikes. "Enough! I'm not here to play your games!" Shadow yelled. "Then why are you here? Seriously? Meowr?" said the cat. "Hey! Did Eggman trap all of you here, too?" Sonic asked. Shadow shook his head. "I'm questioning this virus, Sonic. Go away." he grumbled. "Hello to you, too, Shadow." Sonic replied. "Wait, you're Sonic and Shadow? Meowr!?" the cat gasped. Shadow nodded. "Yes. Now, tell me where Eggman is keeping the Chaos Gauntlets, why he wants them, what he knows about Despair..."
"...And where we can find a good chili dog in this game!" Sonic interrupted. Shadow glared at Sonic as if to yell at him, but the cat spoke up first. "Viruses don't eat! Meowr! And I'm not even gonna talk about your other questions! I am Eggman's security virus, Firepaw! I'm the boss around this game! Meowr!" he hissed. Shadow smirked a little. "You don't scare me. Actually, you almost make me laugh." he said. "MEOWR!! You can't laugh at me! I'm the law here!" Firepaw snapped. "Nice kitty. Just tell me where the exit is, and I'll leave you alone." Sonic said in a cutesy voice. "You guys just don't get it! You're in MY world! Meowr! Troops! Get over here!!" Firepaw called out, bearing his claws!

Firepaw's "troops" approached, goofy-looking green turtles with blue colored shells. There were three of them, and they dashed towards the hedgehogs in an effort to tackle them. "Hm... These are the gooiest minions Eggman ever thought up." Sonic remarked. Shadow rubbed his head like he was getting a headache. "Let's make this quick..." he groaned. Sonic chuckled. "Look how slow they are! The nerve of Eggman, sending turtles to fight with me...again. Weird, I have an overwhelming urge to hop on their heads!" he said, running over to the nearest Egg Troop and hopping rather than spin jumping! The turtle ducked into its shell, protecting itself from the attack and causing Sonic to stumble to the floor! "Ouch! Coward!" Sonic grumbled. Shadow rolled his eyes. "Be serious, Sonic!" he said. Firepaw hurled his elastic, flaming tail at Sonic while he was down, but Sonic was quick to somersault out of the way. "Gah! What was THAT?! This is YOUR fault, tortoise boy!" he said, kicking the shell and causing it to go spinning away like a hockey puck! The shell smacked into Firepaw. "MEOWR!! How dare you!" he shouted as the shell bounced off him and spun toward another Egg Troop! The turtle ducked into its own shell, and when the two shells collided, they soared towards Sonic and Shadow! "Yikes!!" Sonic quickly kicked the shell in a random direction, and Shadow found both shells headed his way! He kicked one to the third Egg Troop, but jumped the other, growling at Sonic. "Who's side are you on!?" he yelled. Another shell smacked into Firepaw, and then the Egg Troops were gone. "Dumb Egg Troops! Why do I get all the rejected henchmen? Meowr?" Firepaw sighed, "Never mind the violence. Tell you what. Get through the castle at the end of this level, and maybe I'll give you some sort of prize. Meowr..." he said craftily. "A castle? Sounds like fun!" Sonic smiled, to Shadow's annoyance. "Well, I'm 'glad' you think so. See you later! Meowr!" said Firepaw before warping away in digitized flames. Shadow glared at Sonic. "I'm holding you responsible for wasting my time!" he growled. Sonic shrugged. "Chill, Shadow. Since we're trapped in this game, we may as well play." he pointed out. Shadow crossed his arms. "I'm not trapped in here. I came here on purpose. I need to find the Chaos Gauntlets. It seems a safe bet that Knuckles brought them to Eggman." he explained. Sonic frowned as Shadow started walking. "Knuckles? Aw, great... Not again..." he sighed.

As they started on their way to find Firepaw at the castle, a strange block with an "X" on it appeared. "And so, our heroes began their journey to find the caste." said BAS as the background music changed, "Luckily, a block appeared before them! Surely, it would contain a means to move forward!" Sonic looked around. "Huh? What's with the narration?" he asked. "You get a prize for defeating the Egg Troops. Just take it and go!" BAS snapped. Sonic looked at the block with awe. "I have an overwhelming urge to bonk it from below with my head!" he murmured, walking under it and jumping into it! "YEOW!! Why did I think hitting a metal block with my head was a good idea!?" he groaned upon landing. "Well, it's gotta be good for something..." Shadow teased. A shiny red object popped out of the top of the block, which turned black and blank. "Hey, a Chaos Emerald!" Sonic said, pointing at their prize. "It's a fake..." Shadow sighed. Sonic picked up the fake red emerald and smiled. "Who cares? We can use it to warp to the next floating island!" he said. Shadow raised an eyebrow. "Since when do I need fake emeralds?" he asked. "Well, I can use it." Sonic shrugged. The two hedgehogs nodded in agreement, and struck a pose. "Chaos Control!!" they said together, warping to the next island. It was crawling with Egg Troops, and some of them were throwing what appeared to be digital Piko Piko Hammers around. "I see Eggman's trying to appeal to my sense of fear..." Sonic remarked. Shadow pointed to a large, metallic blue pipe sticking out of a small peak on the island. "Let's head in there. It might be a shortcut." he suggested. "Right! Video games hide short cuts in crazy places! Let's-a go!" Sonic cheered, his voice taking on an accent for some reason. "Um... I don't know why I talked like that..." he murmured. They charged forward, evading the hammers being thrown at them and passing right through any gold coins in their path! "Hey, what's the deal with these coins?" Sonic asked. "Ignore them! They must be distractions!" Shadow said. As they reached the pipe, a monstrous plant resembling the flowers growing near Eggman's Tree Fort jumped out and tried to bite them! "Grrrr!! Chaos Spear!!" shouted Shadow, causing the flower to vanish with one strike! "Hey, that was too easy!" Sonic said. "Hey, it's a FLOWER." Shadow replied.

Jumping into the pipe, they heard an odd sound effect as they fell, and then popped out in a dark, cavernous area. "This is too big to be inside that island..." Sonic realized. "Video game." Shadow reminded him. Looking around, they saw the glitched robot, Alpha, hitting an X block repeatedly and making coins pop out. "I'm rich! I'm wealthy! I'm racking up 1ups! Now if only I'd stop dying!" he was babbling. "Let's go back up the pipe..." Shadow sighed. However, Alpha had noticed them already. "Greetings, plumbers! Could you save me from the creepy bad guys?" he asked. There were some mean looking red moles digging around in the caves, keeping their heads above ground as they went. They looked possibly related to Firepaw. "Who, them?" Sonic asked. Alpha gasped. "It's the Magma Moles! Get 'em awaaaay! They're ON MY SIDE!! Eeeek!!" he yelped, flying into the caverns and starting to shoot at the Magma Moles! The moles, in turn, started grabbing globs of magma from under the ground and hurling it around the caves! Sonic stared for a moment. "Um... Maybe we should help?" he said. "Why?" Shadow asked. "He might lead us to the castle." Sonic suggested. Shadow groaned, realizing Sonic had a point, and ran in to support Alpha with Chaos Spears. Sonic followed, careful not to touch the magma as he sped towards the moles. "All right, ya goofy computer badniks! Take this!" Sonic tried a homing attack, but the mole simply caught him and tossed him aside! "Hey! That's no fair... Oh, fine..." Sonic next went with his gut and ran back, hopping on the mole's head as he did to the Egg Troop before! It fell into its hole and vanished, signifying it had been defeated! "I need a power-up so I can just zap these guys like Shadow and Alpha... Wait, power-up??" Sonic muttered. As Shadow was busy fighting, he didn't notice something big and heavy over his head. Turning, Sonic saw a huge, angry-looking spiked block, and he yelled to Shadow. "Look out above you!!" As the angry spiked-block came crashing down, Shadow hastily Chaos Controlled away, narrowly escaping. "Yeah, REAL fun game, Sonic!" he snapped. Alpha promptly zapped the angry block, and then looked around. "Hey, it's full of nothing in here!" he said. "Um... Good. Now we can get out of here." Sonic sighed. "It's boring in here. I'm gonna go play!" Alpha announced, "Let's go eat mushrooms! Follow you!" he cheered, circling around Sonic. "Huh?? What just happened?" Sonic muttered. "Now, our heroes had rescued the captive princess! Err, robot!" BAS announced, accompanied by the narration music again, "Together, they continue their quest to defeat the evil king... Errr, find the castle!" Alpha looked at Sonic shyly. "Should I kiss you now?" he wondered. "That's it!! Outta the cave!!" Sonic growled, running ahead while Shadow chuckled.

When they found an exit pipe, they arrived on an island where their path seemed to be blocked. There were giant towers of blocks made of red bricks, there were large patrols of Egg Troops armed with boomerangs, and a big, scary looking ball creature with a mouth full of razor sharp teeth, which was chained up near the end of the platform and snarling at everything. "Awww, isn't the Egg Crunch cute?" Alpha said. Shadow crossed his arms. "I guess I'm on my own. Can't expect you to keep up when you have so little Chaos Control experience." he said. Sonic looked around and saw a big, spotted mushroom with a smiley face on it. "Hey, could that be an actual power-up?" he wondered. Shadow shook his head. "I wouldn't, Sonic. You can't trust anything in Eggman's world." he warned. Alpha patted Sonic on the back and pointed to the mushroom. "Trust the fungus, mighty plumber!" he advised. A mean looking mushroom with feet walked by, and Alpha jumped back. "But don't trust THAT fungus!" he added. Sonic shrugged and picked up the mushroom. "I had a good run..." he muttered. After a loud sound effect, Sonic noticed the ground below him start to shrink! In fact, Shadow and Alpha were getting smaller, too. "Hey... Awesome!! I'm a giant!" Sonic realized. Alpha hid behind Shadow in fear. "It's bluezilla!! Save the cheese!" he yelped, making Shadow groan. With his newfound power, Sonic began to clear the way forward, able to just stomp right through the brick towers and crush them to dust! As the Egg Troops came at him, Sonic lightly kicked them away, and was generally able to clear the path by simply walking forward! "All hail Sonic! The smashing king!" he chuckled, while Shadow sighed in aggravation. "Stupid, annoying, pointless game..." he grumbled. Finally, they came to the Egg Crunch, and Sonic thought he could just stomp past it, too. However, it leapt at him and chomped his leg, making Sonic jump back in pain and land in Shadow's arms, very suddenly back to his original size! "Uh, oh... I think that doggy hasn't had his distemper shot." Sonic chuckled awkwardly. Shadow dropped him on the ground, and as Alpha fired a few shots to distract the beast, they got ready to warp. "Chaos Control!" they shouted, Sonic taking Alpha with them!

They were nearing the castle, they could see it looming ahead, but now they had to cross an obstacle course of moving platforms. Some were moving back and forth, others were cubes that were rotating in midair, and a few were small, blocky platforms that appeared unstable. "I'll meet you at the finish line!" Alpha giggled, flying by with his jetpack. "Cheater!" Sonic shouted. Fortunately, this was a bit more in the hedgehogs' comfort zones. They started running their way through the course, leaping from platform to platform. However, some winged Egg Paratroops started to approach them, and they were lifting some heavy artillery. Their large cannons fired bullets with an EggRobo paint scheme, complete with EggRobo arms and heat-seeking capabilities! The EggBullet Robos flew at the hedgehogs as they reached a group of unstable platforms, which started to fall as soon as they landed on them! "Okay, good timing, actually!" Sonic said, jumping off an EggBullet in order to reach the next platform. Shadow followed Sonic's example, but they found more and more EggBullets fired at them as they tried to navigate the platforms! "This is getting tricky!" Sonic gulped, barely keeping himself on a rotating cube platform. Suddenly, Alpha flew by and fired at several Egg Paratroops, eliminating them and their cannons! "You leave my super plumbers alone! Who else will rake the smiley leaves from my lawn!?" he yelled. Taking advantage of their relative safety, Sonic and Shadow leapt for a small platform with an X block. Sonic hit it, and a huge vine started to grow out of it, like a beanstalk ladder! "Wow, I did NOT see that coming." Sonic said. Shadow started to climb with an annoyed grunt, and Sonic was right behind him.

Finally, they'd arrived at the castle. It was a foreboding building, surrounded by a moat of lava and displaying Eggman's symbol on the front. There were spikes adorning the walls in several places, and there were big, red steel doors. In front of the castle was a big flag pole, with an Eggman flag waving high. Shadow pushed and banged at the steel doors, but they would not budge. "Did you try Chaos Controlling inside?" Sonic asked as he approached. "It's a game, Sonic. The room has to load in order to exist." Shadow said. Alpha spun over upside down in midair. "Game over!" he teased. Sonic glanced around, and looking at the flag pole, suddenly felt a peculiar urge once again. "This is crazy, but I'm gonna try it..." he said, backing up to build up speed, then running at the flag pole! He ran straight up the pole, and then grabbed on to the top, making the flag vanish as he did! A new flag appeared at the bottom, and as Sonic rode the pole back down, a flag with his face on it rose to the top of the pole! Sonic then hopped off and struck a pose. "Yahoo! That'sa so nice!" he said, prompting Shadow to look at him funny. "Err, I mean, that was tight!" he stammered. Suddenly, the steel doors swung open, and BAS started to narrate again. "Our heroes had arrived at the castle. But could they survive the dangers inside?" he said. "Figures." Shadow said. "Woo hoo! Bonus level!" Sonic grinned, leading the way into the castle so they could finally confront Firepaw within.

To be continued...


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